Friday, April 19, 2013

I have a crush on you

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I wish I could say I fell in love with the written word by reading the classics.  You know, tell you some great story about reading Rebecca for the first time and waltzing around holding the front and back cover like hands when I was done. Or being swept away in the prose of Faulkner or Morrison or Shakespeare... clutching the books in my hands as I slept and kissing them "Good Morning" when the sun woke us up.
I totally could. 
My heart still beats a little faster when I read the first line of Sula, I quote Hamlet all the time (which is admittedly disturbing) and Light in August is one of my favorite books of all time.

But, I can pinpoint my love affair to around 1993.  I was twelve years old, in Queens, lying on my stomach in my twin sized bed with pink sheets and a broken ivory canopy.  My kinks were fighting through my day-old straightened hair and my eyes were glued to the pages of a tattered library book.
I was reading. 
Reading well into the silence of the night, well past bedtime and well into my mother's calls for breakfast time.  The book was My Sweet Audrina, a bizarre tale about a girl desperately trying to live up to the legacy of her dead sister with a twist that gives me chills to this day.

You see... the story moved so quickly I had to stop reading to catch my breath.  The words floated off the page and touched me like they had fingertips.  It was the first (but certainly not the last) time I read a book that gave me goosebumps.  It was chock full of "people you could read like window panes" and "haunting eyes" and "porcelain skin."  Emotion and intensity...
And sex.
To a awkward twelve year old girl like me, the idea of sex filled with passionate kisses and soulful touches was EVERYTHING. I remember the first time I read "throbbing manhood" I wanted to stop everything and go out and get one! Thank God no one actually gave me one.  Now, if someone claimed they had one, I would probably call the police. 

The point is, I was so, so, so, so in love.

After reading the book (I would go on to read it multiple times), I filled notebooks with words.  Stories about lost Barbie dolls, girls trapped in mirrors, exploding birthday cakes, unrequited love with the boy next door... everything my little brain could conjure up.  I would read them to my mother, father, brother, best friends and lord help the English teacher that assigned us creative writing!  I would perch up in front of a willing class and read my shit like it could cure cancer.
I reveled in every single opportunity to write... well into adulthood.

When I got to law school it was beaten out of me somewhat.  I remember spending more time on the fact section of my first brief than actually researching the law ("Mavis Carr was a lonely widow.  She stood at her picture window raking her hands through her salt and pepper hair and holding her breath as the delivery man made his way to her door.  She felt foolish for being so excited but it had been months since she had a visitor.  Perhaps that is why she never asked for ID or noticed the 9mm peaking through the rear pocket of his pants..."). 
I got a C on my first legal writing assignment.  But, I tore that fact section up, yall!

When I graduated and landed a job that gave me the flexibility to write, my passion was reignited.  Falling in love, experiencing heartbreak, having bad sex, having good sex, getting married, giving birth, losing loved ones all gave me a perspective on the world and life that bubbled up - creating glorious, juicy fodder that just poured out of me.  My hands could barely keep up with my brain.  Which is the best feeling ever. 

As I move to this new phase of my life where I pursue writing as a career, I constantly recall the feeling My Sweet Audrina gave me.  The feeling Ms. Andrews gave me.  The late Andrews is quoted as saying, "I think I tell a whopping good story. And I don't drift away from it a great deal into descriptive material... When I read, if a book doesn't hold my interest about what's going to happen next, I put it down and don't finish it. So I'm not going to let anybody put one of my books down and not finish it. My stuff is a very fast read."


V.C Andrews


I can only hope to do the same.

Love and Light,
Faye

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